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For anyone who has just been diagnosed with Cancer..


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About 5 years ago I was

diagnosed with Prostate cancer, treated by radiotherapy and at the

moment it is still completely clear.

3 years ago I was

diagnosed with an unrelated colo-rectal cancer, which has been

operated on and treated with Chemotherapy.

At the moment that too

is completely clear.

Today I was able, on a

10th October to sit out side on a restaurant terrace

opposite the Mediterranean in 31° sunshine and have a meal of

seafood followed by salmon.

Life is good five years

after the first shock of hearing the news.

I will continue to have

frequent check-ups, and being realistic I could have a relapse or a

new cancer at any time, but that is the case with anybody, even those

who have never had the disease.

I just want to say to

anyone who gets the news that they have a cancer that it is not

necessarily an immediate death sentence. It is most often treatable,

and although some changes of lifestyle may have to be made they are

not worse than in many other situations as you get older.

I have changed what and

when I eat, and avoid alcohol, but these are things I should have

done years ago anyway.

In my case a key was

early detection, and I would urge all men to have regular PSA tests.

Establish a base

reading and note if it starts to rise quickly. This rise is more

significant than one or two points on the reading.

Anybody who has a

family history of colo-rectal cancer should have regular coloscopies

( I had them every 3 years then every 18 months after several polyps

were found)

The biopsies and tests

are a little uncomfortable in both types of the disease, but nothing

compared to the suffering avoided by early treatment.


regularly, and if you have bad news remember that 5 years down the

line I am still enjoying life to the full...

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I second everything that you say, Norman.  My breast cancer was picked up because it was detected early(ish) from a mammogram.  I thank all those people who campaigned for global testing of certain cancers.

Cancer does not have to be a death sentnce.

AND I am so very pleased that you have seen off your latest scare.

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[quote user="NormanH"]

In my case a key was early detection, and I would urge all men to have regular PSA tests.


Great advice Norman. Happily, my GP insists on that test 6-mthly. She's excellent and the only trouble is that because she's so diligent, you can spend 2hrs waiting to get in to see her.

Good to hear that things are going well. 

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Norman; bon courage mon frère - a true tale of heart over adversity .  Even if you are a grumpy pants who talks sense from time to time [:P]

PS  I am now helping with English as a benévolé at the local primaire - "heads, shoulders knees and toes" anyone?

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There is no doubt that early detection is really important.  Mr C regularly goes through those uncomfy exams and I won't let him stop.  He's a bit of a beggar when in comes to the poo tests though (funny how some find their own "emissions" so distasteful!) but now he gets the real significance as it's hit home very close for us.  Looking back, I was so very, very lucky in my gp because when my swolen stomach didn't respond to normal meds after three days, she packed me off to hospital in an ambulance there and then and then the tests began.  You all know the rest.  Subsequently, I have read of lots of women in the UK and Europe who have had the same symptoms as mine passed off as IBS with the result that it has been months and months before the cancer is found, by which time it's too late - ovarian cancer being so notorious for having the same symptoms but being otherwise un-noticeable until it's spread into the bone and beyond.

Get tested, get treated, dont' get fobbed off!

Good for you Norman, there's hope for all of us. 

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I concur but unfortunately blokes are their own worst enemies sometimes refusing to go and see the doctor when something is obviously not right.

Peeing blood is a case in point. About 6 years ago I did and immediately got it checked out and it turned out to be bladder cancer. Thankfully it turned out to be fairly non aggressive and also superficial so they managed to get it all out but if I had ignored it it could have been a very different outcome. I still need annual checkups but at the moment it's effectively it's cured, or as cured as any cancer ever can be.

Peeing blood can be caused by several things, kidney stones for instance, so it doesn't automatically mean cancer, but it's not natural nor does the fact that it perhaps only happens once (like mine) mean that everything is OK again.

The main point is that cancer is not the death sentence many seem to believe it to be but it's vital to catch it early so if there is something seems wrong go and get it seen to ASAP, chances are it'll be nothing but there can be no worse tragedy for both you and your loved ones than dying from something that was readily treatable - and in more and more cases curable.

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Norman and Deb, we wish you both the best of health for now and the future.

Both of you, on this site have helped so many of us. We owe you both (and others) a great 'Thank You' and are indebted for your advice.

Having the 'C' in the family and with friends, like us, makes you very aware.

Keep well. x
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Norman, was your diagnosis and treatment in the UK or France?

One of the main criticisms of the UK NHS is the time taken for consultations and diagnosis. This leads to a statistically higher incidence of death from cancer than other European countries.

Due to hip pain my wife had an X-ray, after a considerable wait. The report to the GP stated that an unidentified mass was obvious in her femur, but no cause for concern. The GP felt that this merited further investigation. After an almost 4 month wait the GP has received a letter from the hospital stating they don't intend to conduct further investigations. I know that this would not happen in France. We now have to decide where we go from here.
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Sorry, I'm not Norman.

Get your gp to refer you to another hospital.  A good friend of my o/h's (in the UK, not here) was told by his local hospital that there was nothing they could/would do for him.  He went back to his gp and insisted upon a second opinion whereupon he was referred to another hospital (where he's been properly treated.)  It's a bit different because it was known that he did have cancer but even so...  It's her health that's at stake and even in the UK you can do better than just being fobbed off.   Your gp seems to be on your side so that's the first step (in both countries, as it happens!)

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My diagnosis and treatment were in France, but I had to be very pro-active. At one point I had a incompetent Doctor, and I contacted the person responsible for my radiotherapy by email, and he replied by Blackberry from his holiday..

Much depends on who you get, more than where you are I think.

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[quote user="NormanH"]My diagnosis and treatment were in France, but I had to be very pro-active. At one point I had a incompetent Doctor, and I contacted the person responsible for my radiotherapy by email, and he replied by Blackberry from his holiday..
Much depends on who you get, more than where you are I think.

 You also need a good 'advocate' and to be proactive......

A lady I mentioned on another thread, who is recovering from ovarian cancer gives her OH a lot of credit for looking after her when needed, but also chivvying her up to go out and do something when she might not have done so left to her own devices.....

Good Luck jon1

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Great thread Norman, and I'm so pleased to see you doing so well.

The information that you and Coops provided has been invaluable to me with my recent Cancer diagnosis.

I also 2nd your comment about being proactive - I have had to push quite hard to get my treatment

underway here in France, and it seems to me that the administration lets the side down.  Usually the Consultant will tell you treatment will begin in 10 days and then you receive an appointment for 4 weeks in the future!  Don't accept this, insist on an earlier appt., and if that doesn't happen ask your GP to contact the consultant direct if necessary.

On another point, I would urge anyone that has "calcifications" on their Mammograms to ask for further analyses.   My tumour is in the exact same spot as a calcification that appeared on the last 3 mammograms, but each time I was told no further tests were needed.  I now know that these can be a sign of pre-cancerous cells, so would have handled things differently.

Thankfully my surgery is now finished and I will start chemo on 2nd November.  The treatment itself has been fantastic as have all the Dr's and nurses at Rangueil (Toulouse).

Bon courage to anyone starting on this journey.[blink]

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